Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Snubs...and Other Drugs

Well the day has finally arrived: The Oscar nominations were announced this morning! Of course the internets are all a-twitter with the usual narrative. No, not predictions yet; those will come soon enough. The required conversation on Oscar Nomination Day (I've capitalized it in a manner befitting its status as a national holiday here in BlogLand) is who didn't get nominated.

Yes, the annual pastime of analyzing the nominations is joined by the pastime of complaining about the nominations, and while the Academy got a lot right this year, there are always going to be a few disappointments.

Most notable on the list of the unappreciated is Christopher Nolan. The blogosphere (not to mention the Twitterverse) is up in arms that the Inception director got snubbed yet again (having missed out on a nomination for The Dark Knight). Inception was one of the most seen and talked about films of the year, and earned nominations in 8 categories, but not for its director. (Don't feel too bad for Nolan, he's nominated for his screenplay and as a producer).

In addition to Nolan, the most egregious omission is Mark Wahlberg for The Fighter. Wahlberg gives an understated (and thus underappreciated) performance in the title role. It is only because of how well he plays his character that Christian Bale, Melissa Leo, and Amy Adams (as Wahlberg's brother, mother, and girlfriend, respectively) are able to shine so brightly and earn themselves much-deserved nominations. If and when any of them win on Oscar Night, expect them to acknowledge Wahlberg's performance.

Another oversight is the surprising omission of Golden Globe winner "You Haven't Seen The Last Of Me"—or anything from Burlesque for that matter—from the Best Original Song category. The song is both touching and inspiring and comes from a film that really deserves more acknowledgement, given the excellent performances by Cher and Christina Aguilera.

There hasn't been much discussion of it, but I personally also think Anne Hathaway gave an incredible performance in Love and Other Drugs, a film which was at turns a comedy, a love story, and a tear-jerker. Her portrayal of a woman coming to terms with her disease is heart-wrenching and heart-warming all at once. There was some speculation recently that James Franco's position as Oscar co-host might help his chances of getting a nomination, but apparently the same doesn't hold true for Ms. Hathaway.

And finally, we come to The Kids Are All Right. Last week, star (and first-time Oscar nominee) Mark Ruffalo challenged the Academy to "grow a pair" and nominate Lisa Cholodenko for Best Director. They didn't. Woman directors have historically been overlooked by the Academy, and Kathryn Bigelow's win last year marked the first time a woman had ever won Best Director. The Kids Are All Right is an excellent film and certainly deserves a nod for its director, though like Nolan, Cholodenko did receive nominations for her screenplay and Best Picture. The film's other unsung hero, Julianne Moore, will also be sitting on the sidelines on Oscar Night. Moore deserved a nomination every bit as much as co-star Bening, but unfortunately was overlooked. Neither Bening nor Moore had much chance of beating Natalie Portman for the actual Oscar but, as they say, it's an honor just to be nominated.

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